Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that affects the top layer of the skin.
Athlete's foot is usually caused by a fungus called Trichophyton. It is a common condition that affects some people more often than others. The infection is generally limited to the top layer of skin.
Itching is the most common and annoying symptom of this condition. It usually is what causes a person to check his or her feet for problems. Athlete's foot usually appears as an itchy, red rash between the toes or underneath the arch of the foot. When the condition is severe, small blisters may form, which sometimes contain pus. Sometimes the skin may look inflamed, dry, and scaly, or it may appear non-scaly.
Sometimes this condition becomes so uncomfortable that the person cannot perform his or her daily routine. If the infection causes skin breakdown, a bacterial infection can result. Bacterial infection can be very harmful, and sometimes, life threatening.
To prevent this condition: use an antifungal powder in the shoeswash socks in an antifungal solutionchange socks dailywash feet regularly with soap and water, and dry completely with a clean towel or cloth
Most people know when they have athlete's foot by its common symptoms. A definite diagnosis, if desired, can be obtained by sending skin scrapings to a laboratory to be analyzed.
Symptoms, such as itching, can linger. Sometimes this limits a person's ability to comfortably perform his or her daily routine. The most dangerous long-term effect would be a bacterial infection caused by skin breakdown.
Athlete's foot is thought to be mildly contagious. Many people who are exposed to it do not develop athlete's foot, however. Some healthcare professionals advise wearing foot thongs or sandals in public showers and locker rooms. This may help reduce the risk of catching athlete's foot.
Athlete's foot is easy to treat at home using an over-the-counter antifungal cream. The creams may contain tolnaftate (i.e., Tinactin), miconazole (i.e., Micatin, Monistat-Derm), or other medicines.
If over-the-counter creams do not work, a prescription medicine will be needed. The healthcare professional may prescribe antifungal pills, such as itraconazole (i.e., Sporanox) or fluconazole (i.e., Diflucan). Once the infection has healed, a person should follow the prevention measures listed above. The best way to avoid problems is to check the feet often for signs of anything unusual.